5 Things We Learnt about Wales on Our Van Trip
If you were following us on Instagram last month, you would have seen us (the Media team) on our jolly holidays travelling around Wales and exposing some of the curiosities and travelling hot spots of this small UK country.
Our aim was to show you, the eager English language learner, why the UK is the place you need to travel when you get the chance.
However, the trip was not easy and our little old V.W campervan had a few struggles (the kindness of the Welsh locals helped us out here) along with a few difficult night’s sleep and lots of driving. We covered the whole Welsh coast and it was fantastic, but, for anyone attempting to copy us, I would recommend giving yourself a little more than five days to see everything properly!
Anyway, here are 5 things we learnt about Wales on our Van trip!
We’re Grateful that Welsh People Speak English too! (But Welsh is also Pretty Cool)
The Welsh language is fascinating, useful and historical. The language has a history dating back to around 1,400 years ago. It is a language that Welsh people are particularly proud of and identify with; speaking Welsh or ‘Cymru’ is culturally important to them. Our favourite words were ‘Pili pala’ (Butterfly), ‘Araf’ (Slow – which is written on the roads all over Wales), ‘Croeso’ (Welcome) and of course ‘Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch’ (The longest town name in Europe).
However, if you visit Wales, you’ll probably only speak English which is also a native language of Wales as it is, of course, a country in the UK.
Snowdonia is Beautiful
Snowdonia National Park in the northwest of Wales is a breathtakingly beautiful place to visit. This area of Wales is home to dreamy blue lakes, thundering waterfalls, wandering wild animals, babbling brooks and towering mountains.
We spent a day climbing Mount Snowdon, the second biggest mountain in the UK, and saw some fantastic sights – views across wales, the shoreline where the island of Anglesey meets the mainland, and crystal-clear blue lakes. For a brief moment, we were officially the highest people in Wales. Pretty cool.
Visiting this part of UK felt pretty unique and it was crazy to think that we were only really half a day’s travelling away from London. Snowdonia is the perfect place if you’re looking for some peace and quiet in the tranquillity of Mother Nature. Definitely check this place out!
Welsh People are Friendly and Helpful
Sometimes, on road trips, things don’t always go to plan. We discovered this as the Escape Campervan slowly grumbled to a stop on the way to the seaside town of Aberystwyth. We were stranded on the side of the road! The engine wouldn’t start and we were sure that the dream was over. We sat on the pavement feeling rather sorry for ourselves – how were we going to show you how fantastic Wales was?
But alas, as we were waiting for help on the side of the road, fighting back the tears, a lady stopped her car and told us that her husband was a car mechanic! Half an hour later, we were back on the road giving our eternal thanks to Phil, the local mechanic, for his fantastic job on our campervan and rescuing the Escape Campervan trip.
The kindness of locals goes a long way when you’re on a road trip! We love you Phil!
You Can’t Always Get What You Want
Wales, the land of dragons, rugby, Merlin, Gareth Bale and sunshine? Hmm, not sure about that last one.
As we entered our penultimate destination of the trip, the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, we had high hopes of taking a cold dip into the inviting waters of the Blue Lagoon, surfing a clean and powerful wave on the golden-sand-shores of South Wales and working up a sweat wondering the tiny, historical town of St. Davids. The reality was quite different. Fog. Lots and lots of fog. How would we shoot all these beautiful locations in the mist and fog? It really wasn’t what we had planned for. But, as we learnt when our poor van got sick and as the Rolling Stones taught us, you can’t always get what you want, but you can try.
Now, if you weren’t on such a tight schedule as we were, you would probably just wait a few days to visit Pembrokeshire which has some of the most beautiful coastal scenery in the UK. We, however, had no choice but to wander into the foggy future and it was actually quite fun. This thick layer of grey mist added a feeling of mystery and spookiness to each location. The tiny town of St. Davids felt like a scene from Harry Potter as we wandered around the ancient church, it was so silent that all we could here was the sound of our footsteps echoing from the walls. We finished up with a pint of local beer and a warming meal at the pub. Not too bad, ay?
Saying this, a bit of sun would have probably been quite nice. But, then again, who visits the UK for the weather? Pembrokeshire is definitely worth a visit if you like beaches, beautiful countryside and Welsh history.
Cardiff Saved the Day
After a disappointing day in Pembrokeshire, we woke up early and plodded over to the toilet block. We needed a warm shower, a fresh coffee and a good day of activities ahead. Thankfully, that’s exactly what we got.
For those who don’t know, Cardiff is the capital of Wales. It is a bustling, lively city full of students, cheap beer, friendly people and exciting things to do.
We arrived and immediately visited Cardiff Bay, a docklands area thriving with bars and restaurants looking out over the Bristol channel. We took a ride on the wheel (admittedly quite underwhelming com
pared to London’s famous version – but the Welsh ‘eye’ only cost £5), visited the famous Millennium building, had a tour around the Principality Rugby Stadium, watched the first game of Euro 2020 in the pub and finished the evening with some crazy golf and drinks.
Cardiff felt like a great end to a turbulent road trip and we would definitely recommend you visit this fantastic Welsh city.
We hoped you enjoyed watching/reading about our travels and learning more about the fascinating UK country that is Wales.
We will be releasing all of our content that we filmed while we were away in the coming weeks. Keep your eyes peeled!
Gobeithiwn dy weld yn ôl yma yn fuan! (We hope to see you back here again soon!)
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